Corn planting delayed

A muddy farm field near Bonduel. (WLUK/Eric Peterson)

SHAWANO COUNTY - That cool, soggy weather that continues to affect our area may not be what many farmers want.

Corn is usually planted by now, but many fields in Northeast Wisconsin are covered in water.

On a 300-acre farm near Bonduel, tractors on Bob Krause's property sit idle.

"First of all, I'm not out in the fields, which is disappointing," Krause said.

Water stands where soybeans, wheat and corn should go.

"We're late, probably two to three weeks behind at the very least. It's going to be a challenging season, but it always is in Wisconsin," said Krause.

"Ideally we would like to have corn in this northern area in, about May 11, May 15 would be optimal for getting maximum yields, and it doesn't look like it's going to be very likely that will be in this point in time," said Shawano County Agriculture Agent Jamie Patton.

The late spring has delayed corn planting across Wisconsin. The federal crop report shows 20 percent of the state's corn crop is in the ground. That's up from 2 percent a week ago, but behind the five-year average at this time of 41 percent.

And it's not just the wet, it's the cold too. Farmers say even if they were able to plant corn, cold soil temperatures would keep the corn from growing.

"Ideally we would like to see 50 degrees or above. We know that corn germinates at about 65 degrees. But anytime we have seeds sitting in the ground for a long period of time, the germination is going to go down. And there's always that potential for not only insect feeding, but rot as well," said Patton.

Farmers say they may have to switch to corn designed for a shorter season.

"Yes, we're going to be looking at sending back some of our corn varieties. We've not panicked to this state, where we're not going to plant corn, and only soybeans, but that is also in the back of your mind that if this kind of weather continues, you'll be looking at less corn and more soybeans," said Krause.

It's all a race against the clock.

While farmers are losing potential corn-yield each day, agriculture agents say that number will double, after June 1.